Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2021

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.F.A.

Department

Theatre Arts

Degree Program

Theatre Arts, MFA

Committee Chair

Segal, Janna

Committee Member

Carter, Rachel

Committee Member

Kelderman, Frank

Author's Keywords

mowatt; theatre; acting; feminism

Abstract

This MFA thesis explores gender representation in Anna Cora Mowatt’s Fashion (1845) and the adaptation [Re]Fashion presented by the University of Louisville’s Department of Theatre Arts in Spring 2021. Directed by Dr. J. Ariadne Calvano, University of Louisville faculty, staff, and students worked together to repurpose the script for a modern audience. Cast as the governess, Gertrude, I aimed to find truth in my character without ignoring the social prescriptions of mid-19th-century America. Gertrude values purity and honesty, virtues considered innately feminine by the period’s cultural feminists. I argue that Fashion is a cultural feminist work and Gertrude is a cultural feminist character. I detail how historical research, image work, Stella Adler acting techniques, and Jo Estill’s Voice Training helped me build a more confident, legibly restrictive Gertrude for the adaptation. I have offered these techniques so actors can consider the gender politics of period pieces and similarly realize their character’s resistance.

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